Introduction to a Career in Social Care: inspiring young people to enter essential industry role

In response to the recruitment crisis in social care, Scotland’s colleges launched Introduction to a Career in Social Care in 2021. Eighteen hundred funded spaces were offered in 18 colleges across Scotland. The online course is designed to bring more trained candidates into this area of work at a time when the country faces a social care crisis caused by the skills gap and worsened by the pandemic.

Twenty-one-year-old Craig Harvey applied to the Introduction to a Career in Social Care course at Ayrshire College in January 2022. Craig successfully completed the course and, here, he tells us all about his experience.

Turning an interest into a career

Following his 21st birthday, Craig started to pay more attention to his career options and looked into the opportunities that were available to him. He researched college courses and was excited to find the six-week long Introduction to a Career in Social Care course was available at Ayrshire College.

Craig had left school at the age of 14. “I was disengaged from school and hardly ever attended. I had no idea what to do or what my future was going to look like. However, I had a strong interest in social care from a young age and I wondered if it was something I should tap into. The industry looks very rewarding and every day is different. That’s always been the appeal.”

Applying for the course was Craig’s first time applying to college. “The course excited me as it would be a taster of an official social care course and a ‘look in the door’ of the industry; not only that, it was a great opportunity to see what college was actually like too.”

Online learning platform

Introduction to a Career in Social Care is a Level 5 course and has been designed to be taught fully online. Having the course onlines means you can work through the course at your own pace and fit it around your day-to-day commitments.

“I was nervous about the fact it was online as I had never done learning like that before. But, the good thing about doing it online is it allows you to choose when to sit down and work through the materials yourself.”

Five themes are taught during the course with each theme having a series of videos and materials available to engage with. Included in the themes are real-life examples which Craig says he greatly benefited from. “Having real-life examples was great in order to feel connected to the care industry and engaged with what is currently going on.”

Craig also described how the outline of the course made it manageable. “It helped me see if I was on top of everything.” Whenever he ran into any issues the course lecturers were on hand to answer any questions or respond to problems Craig faced. “The lecturers were always very responsive to any issues I sent over by email and it was clear they all wanted me to do well which boosted my own confidence in my ability.”

Looking to the future

At the end of the course, participants have a final meeting with a tutor who will check their understanding of all topics covered and support them in exploring next steps, either into employment or continuing their study in Social Care.

“Having a conversation about next steps with my tutor was really helpful as you were given the encouragement to apply for further courses, such as the NC Level 5 Health and Social Care course, which I will be starting in August. They help you road-map your college life.”

Craig shares how the course has inspired him to think about his future and continue his college education leading to eventual employment in care. “I hope that maybe one day I will become a manager at a residential home for young people. College has helped me find my thing and given me confidence in myself. It’s a great way to experience college and take the necessary stepping stones into the social care industry.”

If you are interested in undertaking this engaging course please check out which colleges are currently delivering the course and contact them directly for more information and to confirm your eligibility:

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